While strokes and seizures share similar symptoms and are both medical conditions that can cause harm, they are distinct from one another, have different effects, and require different treatments. This article will help explain the difference between the two.
There are two types of seizures: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures occur in the entire brain, and partial seizures occur in a small part of the brain. Seizures can often occur as a result of an underlying condition known as epilepsy, but they also occur in people without epilepsy. There are multiple types of seizures, but the most common and well-known type of seizure is the generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also known as the “Grand-Mal” seizure. Symptoms of this seizure include unconsciousness, muscle convulsions, and muscle rigidity. One well-known trigger of a seizure is rapidly flashing lights, which can cause excessive brain activity.
|Caused by lack of blood flow to the brain, or by hemorrhaging in the brain.||Caused by excessive activity in brain circuits.|
|No underlying condition associated with having a stroke, though high blood pressure is a factor.||Epilepsy is an underlying condition often associated with having a seizure, though a seizure is not always caused by epilepsy.|
|Symptoms can be permanent.||Symptoms typically temporary.|
|Often occurs in the elderly.||Can occur at any age.|
Stroke vs Seizure
What are the differences between strokes and seizures? The main differences are:
- The cause of the condition itself
- The permanence of the symptoms
- The age group affected by each condition
While strokes are caused by the lack of blood flow to the brain, or by hemorrhaging in the brain, seizures are caused by excessive activity in brain circuits. Additionally, seizures are known to have underlying conditions causing them, such as epilepsy. Strokes, on the other hand, do not have any corresponding conditions. High blood pressure is known to cause a stroke, and is the highest risk factor for a stroke, but high blood pressure will not always lead to a stroke.
Seizures generally do not last for a long time. Once the seizure has run its course, any unconsciousness, rigidity, convulsions, etc. will dissipate and will not affect the person who suffered the seizure. Another seizure will, of course, have the same symptoms, but the symptoms of one seizure do not last until another seizure. A stroke, on the other hand, can have permanent effects. The numbness of the face or body, difficulty speaking, loss of muscle function etc. can be permanent.
Stroke is associated more with elderly groups. While it is not unheard of for a younger person to have a stroke, they are far more common in the elderly, and quite rare for a younger person. Seizures, however, can occur at any age, and are not typically associated with an age group.
The video below helps to explain some of the differences between a stroke and a seizure. Additionally, it contains some information on how seizures may imitate strokes, as well as the different types of strokes and seizures: